Policy Needed to Combat Invasive Plant Species

Foreign plant seeds and pests that are brought into Iceland can cause damage to the Icelandic ecosystem. Plant ecologist Kristín Svavarsdóttir told RÚV that the government needs to develop a strategy to combat invasive species and is particularly concerned about seeds that are inadvertently brought into the country in imported soil.

Kristín says that this problem of invasive species dispersing around areas where soil importation is highest—i.e. cities and towns where there’s a lot of agriculture—is well-known in other countries and it’s the job of the Ministry of the Environment to create a policy to combat this phenomenon in Iceland. “This is classified as one of the largest environmental issues in the world, but we’ve completely ignored it,” she remarked.

The debate always revolves around individual species, Kristín continued, but she believes that the focus should be much broader. “Of course, we need to look at individual species but we also need to set rules and working methods both regarding how we’re going to prevent this and [how to] be aware of what species we’re bringing in—that’s to say intentionally, although of course there will also be species coming in unintentionally, in soil for instance. We’re kind of just letting things happen. It’s carelessness, pure and simple.”

Airport Reopens in Siglufjörður

The airport in the North Iceland village of Siglufjörður has reopened after a four-year closure, RÚVreports. Gunnar Birgisson, mayor of Fjallabyggð municipality which Siglufjörður is a part of, says that while the airport may indeed support tourism, its primary purpose in the municipality is to ease access to medical services. “…[I]t gives the residents a sense of security to have the airport open.”

For the time being, the airport will not be serviced by regularly scheduled flights. “…Siglufjörður has now been recognized as a landing site where people can land at their own risk. We’ve marked the landing strip and all that, but we don’t have any signal, airport management, or anything like that.”

As there’s no control tower at the airport, people intending to land in Siglufjörður will need to contact Gunnar or the town engineer to confirm it is safe to land.